Banksy did a graffiti piece in Sutton, South London. They usually don’t stand for vandalism there and generally have a more of a zero tolerance attitude towards graffiti. But it’s not really vandalism, now is it, since it’s Banksy, and everyone loves him and he is sorta, kinda a real artist, and people pay quite high prices for his works, and, hey, if it’s good enough for Brangelina, it’s certainly good enough for Sutton. So they voted to keep the piece.
Of course, some other vandals have now sprayed their personal tags over the original piece. So naturally the council is now considering if they can restore the graffiti.
I find this fun for three reasons. One, I just generally like Bansky and the weird reactions that he provokes. Two, this shows that there is a backlash against Bansky. Frankly, it’s surprising that it took this long to surface. He has been moving towards acceptance – and he certainly has made some money and can thus be branded a sell-out. For me he almost jumped the shark when he instituted the Pest Control fake police – something that I feel goes against what he has been preaching. And finally, three, this just underlines how the whole struggle over public space is far from clear cut.